Diverse nanosystems for use in cancer imaging and therapy have been designed and their clinical applications have been assessed. Among a variety of materials available to fabricate nanosystems, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) has been widely used due to its biocompatibility and biodegradability. In order to provide tumor-targeting and diagnostic properties, PLGA or PLGA nanoparticles (NPs) can be modified with other functional materials. Hydrophobic or hydrophilic therapeutic cargos can be placed in the internal space or adsorbed onto the surface of PLGA NPs. Protocols for the fabrication of PLGA-based NPs for cancer imaging and therapy are already well established. Moreover, the biocompatibility and biodegradability of PLGA may elevate its feasibility for clinical application in injection formulations. Size-controlled NP&rsquo / s properties and ligand&ndash / receptor interactions may provide passive and active tumor-targeting abilities, respectively, after intravenous administration. Additionally, the introduction of several imaging modalities to PLGA-based NPs can enable drug delivery guided by in vivo imaging. Versatile platform technology of PLGA-based NPs can be applied to the delivery of small chemicals, peptides, proteins, and nucleic acids for use in cancer therapy. This review describes recent findings and insights into the development of tumor-targeted PLGA-based NPs for use of cancer imaging and therapy.